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A happy New Year to all my readers, let us hope 2008 is a prosperous and interesting one. I am sure it will prove challenging to all concerned, especially in the bus industry where a major development will be the introduction of a countrywide scheme for free travel for pensioners. I read in a local paper talk of "England & Wales" but I was under the impression that if you hold an English pass you may not travel on buses in Wales?
Another "Winchester" has been and gone, how quickly the years go by. I spent a pleasant morning in the city and met a number of old friends. I have included a photo report in this issue and considering the very large number of photo web sites which will cover the event in great detail, I have tried to present a slightly different view. I hope you enjoy my offering.
King Alfred looks down on events on New Year's day as an Eastbourne AEC Regent enters The Broadway after an early run out.
Another view of The Broadway with the King Alfred Dennis loading for a trip out. Also present is a Wilts & Dorset decker.
The Dennis is a lovely little bus and one of its usual crews is seen here preparing for the 10am departure.
The driver almost seems to be at attention. He never moved for quite a time, the driver not the bus!
The joy of the back loader is the conductor or guard who looks after fares, the passengers and once, the parcels carried on country services.
King Alfred's Leyland PD2 waits time as its crew exchange pleasantries.
"Hold very tightly - ting ting" and off goes the PD2.
"Inside please - no room on top."
Forgive your Editor indulging in a whim, as childhood memories of holidays on the North Wales coast came flooding back at the site of some Crosville buses in Winchester.
The weather even seemed reminiscent of North Wales on a late summer day, damp!
Llandudno was always a favourite with me as a child and I can remember the AEC saloons when new operating services in the town.
Steve Morris and his team at Quantock really have made an excellent job of these wonderful buses.
Friends of King Alfred Buses have recreated the city service remembered by so many
and are able to provide a display of buses and coaches second to none for this annual event.
Each year produces some unusual and interesting buses and 2008 was no exception.
This National Greenway was giving trips to those interested.
A recent arrival in the preserved ranks is this Bristol LH once a stalwart of the Hillingdon Bus service.
One of the most unusual vehicles to be seen in Winchester was this Tilling Stevens coach, once with a local operator.
The coach is now one of a collection owned by Roger Burdett.
An ex Southern-Western National Bedford OB with special sides for a sea font service.
A good conversion as it can be used in inclement weather.
A visitor to the event was this Stagecoach Volvo B10M, 52267, which I think had conveyed a group of enthusiasts from South Wales.
Many of this type of coach within the Stagecoach group a0re ending their days as training buses.
This one, now registered PSU788, was M164SCK which started life with SC Ribble.
For more information on this excellent group, pictures of this and previous years events follow the link
Versa on the run – another observation and question
Ken MacKenzie of the PSV Circle writes"You may be interested to know that Bland & Bainbridge of Culham (aka White's) have a white Optare Versa in their yard today - don't know anything about it, so if any readers can supply any details, I'll be most grateful. I expect it is a 'loan' but it could be new to them.".
Does this refer to the comments from Steve Annells on the last page, I wonder?
Mick Payne writes"A happy new year to you. Long may you continue to give us information and enjoyment about the current and past bus scene. It's very much appreciated.
At the end of last year I did you a note about route 359 that used to run between Amersham and Aylesbury. I've since been in touch with Brian Cross whose photos appear in many bus books. Attached are a couple of Mr Cross' photos from half a century ago. That being so they probably will not reproduce that well but with Mr Cross' kind permission here goes.
Photo 1 shows Bristol K5G 755, NNO 96 new to Eastern National in 1948 on route 359 in Old Amersham. I would date this photo around 1950, two years before NNO 96 and Eastern National's share of route 359 passed into United Counties ownership and after which NNO 96 acquired a three position blind.
These were interesting buses in that they had been new in 1946-1949 to Eastern National and NNO96 was numbered 755 in the UCOC fleet, being part of a batch of some 50 Bristol K s transferred from Eastern National with local routes.The details were checked with my copy of Ian Allan British Bus Fleet 7 - Midlands Area published 6/61.
Photo 2 shows a rare instance of the RLH route 336 service spare, RLH13 - KYY 513 on this occasion, being substituted for the regular RT on route 359 at Amersham Station. A little research indicates that RLH13 was based at LT's Amersham garage around 1954/55 so I guess the photo must date from that time.
Interesting independents from Glenn KnightGlenn Knight wrote sending some interesting pictures. He says "First of all Trekkers of Latton Common WAZ3827 Leyland Leopard & E208EPB Duple 425 with Duple body C57F Ex-Alder Valley (South) 1208 at the depot today 28.12.2007.
Also at that location was Gale Motors of Harlow LBZ4329 ex-E125 LAD Duple 425 with Duple Body C54Ft Ex-Thomas, Cheltenham the rear has been remade with Leyland engine flap and rear back panel and the side indicators from a London DAF Decker.
The next picture shows H24JMJ, a Leyland Tiger with Plaxton body with a rebuilt front, from a 2005 bodied Plaxton C49Ft Ex-Brent’s of Bushey.
Last but not least is H264GKK, a Leyland LMB brought from Town & Around, Folkestone some five to ten years ago. This bus has sat in the depot ever since. It carries a Wadham Stringer B39F body.
One day these vehicles could make interesting preservation projects.
Glenn writes"Rail Replacement at St Albans yesterday 30/12/2007"
Trustline Services, Harlow Leyland Olympian J820CEV Ex-91D 10109 H47/27D Ex-Dublin Bus RH109
H674PVW Ex-91 D 1076 Leyland Olympian Alexander (Belfast) H47/27D Ex-Dublin Bus RH76
Pictures by Glenn Knight
Paul Davis writes"Carousel Plaxton Prima RK07BNF has returned to the 27 (where it started) whilst the Bucks Uni Campus is on holiday. This provides an interesting comparison at Cock Lane with 25 years ago when London Country started the route as 397. The Prima is seen on the last day of 2007 whereas the Bristol is seen in October 1982."
Steve Bunce visited Binders Yard recently and sent a couple of interesting pictures of current residents.
Keith Shayshutt writes "Some photos for the Buses in the Landscape feature if you think fit.
These were taken today, Saturday 15 December 2007, on the top of the Cat and Fiddle pass on the Derbyshire/Cheshire border and feature Bowers 58 route which runs hourly over the pass between Macclesfield and Buxton. You have one photo of a Solo in the Buxton direction and three of another Solo in the opposite direction heading towards Macclesfield. And boy, was it cold standing at the side of the road in below freezing temperatures waiting for these to come along!"
Mike Bennett was in Witney and sent several pictures including this one.
It shows a Volvo B10M with NCME bodywork framed in an archway.
Mike also wrote"I was in my home town of Marlborough on Friday November 11th having a cup of coffee in the coffee shop in St Peter's Church. My camera was on the table in front of me and the churchwarden noticed it. He asked me whether I would like to climb to the top of the church tower to take some photos.. I said yes immediately as I had never been to the top of this tower - so ten minutes later I was up on the roof looking out over the town. The attached photo shows Marlborough High Street stretching away to the north-east - with the Town Hall and St Mary's Church at the far end. About half way along the street an Olympian of Stagecoach Swindon can be seen passing through the car park to get to its bus stop outside LLoyds Bank. Already at the stop is a Wilts & Dorset Optare Solo in the latest livery. Although only a small town, Marlborough is quite busy with buses, and even has 3 town services - usually covered by the one bus, an Optare MetroRider from Tourist Coaches - a subsidiary of Wilts & Dorset."
Marlborough in November 2007. Mike Bennett.
Doug Spencer writes "Could this be a contender for the "Buses in the landscape" feature?"
RML2515 pictured at Crewe Railway Station on the occasion of the RMOOA Bus Show and Running Day held at Crewe Heritage Centre (The Railway Age) on 9th September 2007.
Malcolm Crowe - Friday 4th January 2008
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002 to date
News of the local companies – 4th January 2008
Roger Spence writes"Sorry, it's been a while. The gloomy misty weather and work pressures have prevented me from getting many pictures, but here a few taken fairly recently...
At the bus station, 'Red Line 2 & 3' branded Dart 3236 having worked on the 550.
Makes you wonder if they couldn't have put unbranded 3207 on the 550 and 3236 on the route 2!
As yet, the four red Darts have no side logos or branding - which probably does make it less confusing when they occasionally cover on 'Blue' Route 2! One does wonder if the general public have even made the link between the red buses and the red route - and if so, are they confused when they see the red-liveried vehicles of Red Rose?
Roger closes saying -That's all for now. Thanks for the excellent web site - your efforts are greatly appreciated."
"An Arriva Dennis Trident has been badly damaged by an engine fire in Hertford
while working route 310 on Thursday morning. Report and photo here:
Not sure which bus it is at the moment but definitely one of the W-XKX batch (Ware depot have 8 ex-Luton and 6 ex-Southend examples for the route).
Matt continues "No certain details as of yet, but it looks to me like the bus involved is 5451 (W451XKX). If this is the case this is one of the ex-Southend examples. Sister vehicles 5448 and 5449 were lost in a depot fire at Southend a few years back (believed to have been caused by an electrical fault in 5448)."
A further report from Matt adds"Noted today freshly outshopped in the latest Green Line livery was Plaxton-bodied DAF 4369 (W369XKX) - also receiving an LED destination display. It is currently the only Plaxton coach in the new livery not to carry an EasyBus super-rear ad. Only 4064 (P201RWR) and 4364 (W364XKX) remain in the old livery (both still noted as such yesterday and today respectively).
In the Oxford area Olympian 5157 has joined 5161 in having be fitted with an LED destination display.
Dennis Dart J103DUV at the depot after outshopping in livery. Glenn Knight
Standing in for the normal Enviro 200, the Dart was seen in Oxford on 3rd January on the 104. Picture by Gavin Francis.
Anyone watching the TV News on 2nd January may have seen a report from Birmingham International Station covering the lack of train following over-running engineering works. The backdrop for the report was of a recently arrived coach transfer from Northampton, suing an Ayats Bravo.
Ah ha, I thought, I recognise that coach and indeed all was revealed as it pulled away giving Heyfordian a really good plug on National TV.
Roger Spence sent a couple of interesting National Express pictures.
3rd December at Hemel. Burton's Volvo B12B YN05VRT receives attention from the Volvo fitter.
This coach would have been on the 787 Cambridge-Heathrow service.
Whilst Levante 59211 waits to leave for Stansted on the 737.
I have been aware that a Levante with a Yorkshire registration was around.
Gavin Francis caught up with the coach in Victoria showing it to be part of the East Yorkshire fleet, nr 67 working the 562 service.
I think it is probably a Volvo B12B?
Stephen Le Bras and Gavin Francis both report new Levante 4 wheeler numbered SC41 and working the 420 service. There is also an SC42 in the same batch and these would appear to be in the Veolia fleet. Indeed Stephen Le Bras writes "There are some more Levantes- 2 axle versions on the 420. I was heading Northbound on Park Lane when I noticed SC42 heading Southbound towards VCS. Pausing to finish my Cornish Pasty, I returned to VCS. Annoyingly I could not find SC42 but an hour later SC41 came in from another direction also on the 420. SC41 is registered FJ57KJO.
Coaches are still going down St Georges Drive, near Bulleid Way- I saw 2 traffic wardens waving at one driver to tell him that he should not be there!"
Two new tri-axles seen at Stansted Scania are FJ57KHC and FJ57KHD. Neither were ready for service and KHD did not have any livery suggesting this may be the first to be placed in service in the new livery. They could be SC36 and SC37 as on 27/12/07 SC35 was the latest into service.
The first few of the new Citaros have entered service on or after 1st January 2008. They are being used on the X3/X13/13 group of routes and look very similar to the previous batch.
Philip Kirk, MD of OBC advises that there are 11 new Citaros in service for the X3 group of services, fleet numbers 860 to 870 and registrations AF to HF, JF to LF 57 OXF.
There will be a consequential cascade of other vehicles which will be announced in due course
Gavin Francis spent a very cold two hours in Oxford yesterday, 3rd January, to bring us a number of interesting pictures, including some of the new buses in service.
864 and 869 by Gavin Francis
865 seen out in service, today Friday 4th January in these pictures by Richard Sharman
Not all the Abingdon workings are in the hands of the new Citaros as seen above with 859 and next 850.
However branding on many of the 849 batch has been removed. Pictures by Gavin Francis.
Changes in allocations do appear to suggest that 4 road is to be Citaro road.
854 works 4 road on 3rd January with pictures from Gavin Francis
As one may expect another route, such as the 5, may gain from the increased number of Citaros. Pictures by Gavin Francis.
Trident 904 is seen working an 8 road service. It seems that this, with the 9, will be the last route to see the 6xx on a regular basis. Picture by Gavin Francis.
As mentioned above Volvo B10Bs are seen on the 8 and 9. 613 is not even shown in the August 2007 fleet list??? Pictures by Gavin Francis.
Maybe 635-643 are to be the last B10Bs in service as many have been repainted. Picture by Gavin Francis.
6 road seems to get a variety of buses and last week, the 28th to be precise was not exception. Pictures by Gavin Francis.
29th December saw 815 working a 35 road service. Picture by Gavin Francis.
Many of the early single door B10Bs are now with The Stafford Bus Centre for sale including 612.
Dave Stewart writes "Route 459 (Langley- Richings Park- Iver- Uxbridge) was taken over from today Thursday 27th December by Red Line (formerly worked by Jason's Tours). Vehicle today was Mini Pointer Dart V262 BNV, all red, no fleet names but correct dayglo blinds.
The route goes into Greater London of course, and TfL's revised London Service Permit conditions require an 'accessible' vehicle (Jason's used a Merc/709). One problem, though, is the hump bridge on Iver Lane which has a 7,500kg max gross weight limit (that's why the old 458 got diverted via Iver Heath over 30 years ago). The Mini Dart has an unladen weight of 6,060kg, which in turn means that no more than 18 people could be carried. However, as many as that would be very unlikely indeed!! I wonder if Red Line has a new accessible (and lighter) minibus on order - perhaps a Solo 710 or another Primo, does anyone know?"
Times are Mon-Fri only
From Langley to Uxbridge 0930, 1037, 1241, 1346.
From Uxbridge to Langley 1010, 1210, 1315, 1420.
R H Transport
RH 407 on the 700 Park & Ride service at the JR 4th January by Richard Sharman
30th December 2007 by Gavin Francis
"Highlight must be the use of Olympian 16072 from Stratford on the X20. Driver told me it was covering for a defective Warwicks C C yellow and green bus. No other suitable bus available. Blinds were the sort which are very difficult to photograph and had to take lots of pics just to get these."
Picture by Gavin Francis
Rebranding on the X5 coaches.
Gavin Francis has caught up with the two coaches which have received new mega rears for the X5 service. They are pictured below in Gloucester Green.
Pictures by Gavin Francis
Gavin also sent a number of pictures of SC vehicles in service in Oxford.
The one 53 reg Dart which is now based at Witney is seen on Thursday 3rd January on route 11. Picture by Gavin Francis.
Olympian 16525 is seen on route 7C nearing the end of its journey from Barton on 3rd January in a picture by Gavin Francis.
The University holidays see some interesting workings by Brookes liveried buses. 18053 is seen on the 31 on 3rd January - picture by Gavin Francis.
Dart 33821 is seen working a 16 duty on 3rd January 2008 by Gavin Francis
sometimes the electronic displays get mixed up as seen on 18137 at the rail station on 3rd January 2008 - photo by Gavin Francis.
Finally recent weather has made the cleanliness of buses very difficult indeed. Dirt shown on the Trident above can accumulate in under a day out on the road.
Picture by Mike Bennett.
Chris Maxfield spent a few hours in and around Wallingford and sent pictures of the various fleet changes which have taken place in the last few weeks.
Ex OBC 501 is still very active with Thames Travel and is seen in the yard on Christmas Eve.
One of the 2006 delivery of small Darts seen in Wallingford Square on 24th December.
The 2006 delivery of M A N Evolutions is often seen on the recently acquired County routes around Wantage and Abingdon.
The latest batch of M A N Evolutions are now entering service. When Chris visited they had yet to receive fleet numbers and branding.
The older 51 registered Darts are being returned and two are seen awaiting departure at the depot.
The other new buses in the "57" fleet are the Enviro 200s.
Whites of Abingdon
Chris Maxfield caught up with two of the Whites fleet at Didcot on local routes.
The Village Carrier was operated by a small mini bus until recently.
Now Whites have taken over and the 63 is Solo operated on most days as this picture by /Gavin Francis shows.
A note regarding photographs which show drivers faces.
Following one complaint from a bus driver in Oxford but considering the fact that the photographs are taken of the vehicle not any person,
I will blank out the face to avoid any discomfort to the individual concerned. If you are the person involved send me an email to have this action taken.
I am sure people will realise that to ask everyone in advance of publication, whose face may appear in a picture is wholly impractical in both time and practice.
I am sorry to have to mention such a matter but we now live in a world of human rights and political correctness which must be considered.
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at
HISTORY IN PICTURES AND WORDS
If you have any pictures or historical memories and wish to submit them for this page please send them to the me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Coming events, models and useful links
New Trident model with an Oxford flavour
Date: 21st December 2007.
ukbus 1036 Alexander Dennis ALX400-bodied Trident
Stagecoach in Oxfordshire
Creative Master Northcord is proud to release a brand new livery on its well-known casting – the Alexander Dennis ALX400-bodied Trident. This is ukbus 1036 carrying standard Stagecoach livery but with special route branding livery.
This model represents Stagecoach in Oxfordshire 18394 (KX55 TLN). This is the second Stagecoach in Oxfordshire ADL ALX400-bodied Trident model that CMNL produced. The previous one is ukbus 1026 with Brookes bus colours.
Stagecoach in Oxfordshire 18394 is one of a fleet of seven Tridents introduced onto route 27 in March 2006 to replace Volvo B10M single deckers. Route 27 operates between Oxford and Bicester up to every 15 minutes at busy times with three main route variants around Bicester – 27A to Glory Farm and Launton, 27B to Glory Farm and Langford and 27C to Ambrosden and Arncott.
18394 is one of three vehicles which carry supplementary branding for the Bicester Duo ticket which was introduced during 2007. The ticket allows two people to travel from Bicester to Oxford for the price of one.
The replica features excellent detailing, inside and out, including an opening engine door, engine detail and the representation of LED lights at the rear. This is a one-piece casting whose clean lines accentuate the windows and livery application on which all logos and lettering are clearly legible. The model has no unnecessary metal poles to hold it together.
It will be a good opportunity to make a twin Stagecoach in Oxfordshire bus model set with ukbus 1036 and ukbus 1025 representing the common street scene in Oxford.
PSV Circle publishes latest issue of the fleet list for Berkshire and Oxfordshire
Ken MacKenzie writes to note that the new PSV Circle fleet list for Berkshire/Oxfordshire (G432) is now available.
Those readers wishing to buy a copy should write to: PSV Circle, 59 Palmer Avenue, Cheam SM3 8EF - Cost id £7.00 plus 50p P & P and it will also be available at the PSV Circle sales stand at Showbus 2007.
This will be a most useful reference for all those interested in the local scene.
Editors review - I have now had chance to review this book and it is indeed very useful, giving details of all known fleets in Berks and Oxon. Whilst some information is not totally up to date it allows the readers to have a comprehensive view of the local fleets and up dates can be gained by joining the PSV Circle. At £7.00 this represents value for money as it also includes a number of good photographs.
A new casting with a local flavour has been released by Britbus as a picture from Mark Lyons shows. It is a nice model but as Mark says, a little pricey at £33.
Model News of an Oxford bus
Guy writes to send a picture of the latest offering on the model front related to Oxford.
A photo disc for your collection
This week I can bring details of a really super new photo disc from Vics cliix. The disc contains pictures taken in the early 1970s by Vic Zealey and copies can be obtained through Malcolm Hyland's web site http://www.cliix.co.uk.
Here are some samples of the 158 pictures on this disc.
The quality is good and they are all at high resolution.
Oxford Bus 125 commemorative book
In last week's issue I mentioned that Oxford Bus were publishing a book to commemorate the 125 years of public transport in Oxford. Thanks to Phil Ashworth I have had a review copy and hereunder give my thoughts on this book.
The book is well presented and includes a number of historical pictures of interest including some I had not seen before. The modern pictures have received a nice treatment reflecting the modern fleet against a background of typical Oxford architecture. The Botley Road rail bridge gets a mention and a picture of an AEC pre war decker which has done battle with said bridge and come off worse from its encounter is included.
The book, whilst rather small to reflect the 125 years in detail is nevertheless a must for all who love Oxford, historians and enthusiasts alike.
Copies of the book can be bought from the Oxford Bus Company, Cowley House, Watlington Rd, Oxford OX4 6GA. The cost is £5.95 including postage. Cheques should be made payable to "Oxford Bus Company", it is also available in person from the Oxford Bus Museum during normal opening hours.
Robin sent me a copy of his latest DVD to review. "Today's buses - Oxfordshire" is the compelling title which includes Henley, Wallingford and Didcot before the viewer is taken onto Wantage, Witney, Banbury and finally Bicester. Each of these locations is covered in2 to 5 minutes and each shows the current selection of buses and coaches to be found. Finally over 37 minutes is devoted to Oxford with filming in a variety of locations in the city.
On another subject the road sense and behaviour of cyclists in Oxford has to be seen to be believed!!!!
The quality of the DVD is excellent and one can really see clearly the details of each vehicle, something which older video always seemed unable to do. All the latest developments are shown in this September 2007 DVD, including workings from Broad Street during the St Giles Fair weekend.
The DVD provides a unique record of events in Oxfordshire during this period and at £10 is not a very large outlay.
74 Polruan Place, Fishermead,
Milton Keynes MK6 2EA
The full details of DVDs available from Robin Clare may be found at his web site :- http://www.robinclare.co.uk/
Dave Rogers sent the following press release.
CREATIVE MASTER NORTHCORD - PRESS RELEASE
Mercedes-Benz Citaro - ukbus 5004 Arriva Manchester - ukbus 5007 Oxford Bus
Creative Master Northcord Limited is proud to release two brand new liveries on its well known Mercedes-Benz Citaro casting. Both models have received significant, yet different, modifications to the tooling in order to represent, as close to 100% accuracy as possible, the real buses on the roads.
ukbus 5004 represents fleet number Arriva North West’s 2851 (CX55 EAA). This Mercedes Citaro is one of three such vehicles with dedicated route branding for service 700 and with the destination set to Manchester. The model features a redesigned interior layout that includes the reduced seating capacity and luggage racks.
Starting on 29th October 2005, Arriva North West’s service 700 runs from Manchester’s Piccadilly Railway Station to Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport. For the service, 3 Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses were purchased and numbered 2851-3. They were painted in the same style and colours as the Scania OmniCity buses that already operated between John Lennon and Liverpool city centre.
ukbus 5007 represents fleet number 830 (X13 OXF) of Oxford Bus Company. 830 entered service in December 2003, to upgrade the X3 & X13 Oxford – Abingdon services. The bus was painted in a new and distinctive livery designed by Best Impressions.
ukbus 5007 features the smooth, curved windscreen with the destination display set behind the windscreen glass rather than the protruding destination found on the Park & Ride Citaros in the fleet. This feature is one of the standard specifications on other Citaros that the Go-Ahead Group has purchased.
Mercedes-Benz Citaro ukbus 5004 and 5007 models are each a one-piece casting whose clean lines accentuate the square-mounted, double-glazed windows and the livery application on which all logos and lettering are clearly legible. Another main feature on both models is the extensive portrayal of handrails. The headlight / indicator units at the front and indicator / tail light units at the rear are made of individual components to look more realistic.
The brand new single-door Mercedes-Benz Citaro bus models will be distributed by John Ayrey Die-Casts Limited (UK), Porte Publishing Company (Japan) and Concorde Hobby Shop (HK) respectively. The ukbus 5004 and 5007 models are limited to 1700 pieces worldwide respectively.
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Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002 to date
These are nine most interesting sites which I do recommend
Mike Penn's photo page with much from Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire as well as Buckinghamshire
Chris Lowe's Photo page - mainly North West UK
John Marsh's pictures with a difference
The Oxford Bus Museum
A web site which has paintings of buses.
Arriva Handbook for 2006-2007
The latest handbooks are now
on sale, the ever
Bus Services in Buckinghamshire
Bus services in Oxfordshire
Bus services in Hertfordshire
Where are the Chilterns?
Visit this informative site through the link below.
Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002